I am no stranger to road trips (wish I had known of this site before some of them tho!) but right now I am looking at leaving Mar 12 to get to Yellowstone Nat'l Park by Monday, Mar 15. I am going to be working there for 6 months, and just found out I got the job!!!
I am leaving from central Wisconsin, that's not the hard part...
I get conflicting reports about which is better- I-90 or I-94? I can only get in thru the North Entrance (by Gardiner, MT) so I am looking for what would be safest, considering its still winter, even if weather has been great lately....
I am also concerned about mountain passes. Altho I lived in CO for 5 years, passes still make me nervous. I am driving a 1990 Honda Accord- yes, I know its old. But she is really reliable (got me back and forth from CO to WI a few times) and I got her all checked out for the trip.
Any tips, warnings, suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I anticipate the trip will probably be rather dull, being its winter and all- but if I'm on the road, I am happy.....great site, BTW....
...split the difference and take US12 out to I-94 at Miles City (MT), I-94 to I-90 at Billings, I-90 to US89 and into Gardiner (if the weather is good and roads are clear). I don't see any high passes on this route except those inside the Park itself. I've not driven this route in winter other than in November, so I do not know how frequent late-winter storms are -- but I'm guessing your chances of good road are fair to good!
If not US12, my choice would be I-94 (except you'd miss the Black Hills, so I'm REALLY torn.) What to do, what to do.
Flip a coin? :)
Be SURE to have snow chains with you that FIT your tires and practice putting them on before you HAVE to in a blizzard :)
Thanks for the replies..1 week to go!
Thank you both.
I learned winter driving in the blizzards of WI, and never once put tire chains on, never had a 4WD, nothing....
I am not about to take that chance at altitude. I want all systems go in case of a blizzard there. Thanks for the advice..I have got chains for the back tires (car is FWD) and I will definitely be practicing to confirm my ability to do so. Over the month of December I was road tripping with my brother from San Diego to Portland OR to Reno, Vegas and back to Diego.
We crossed the Donner Pass (the history is intimidating enough) in a wretched blizzard, at night, and somehow it was pea soup fog too. Weird weather. After seeing the cars lined up for miles to have the "Chain Guys" (who apparently just wait up there for bad weather?) stop everyone and check for chains or4WD required, I was convinced we were going to careen off the mountain in my brother's Ford Bronco.
I do not want a repeat of that, esp driving solo.
I have chains, flares, 2 qts oil, antifreeze, Fix-a-Flat, blankets, radiator sealant,spare donut tire, first aid kit, cell phone and credit card.
I think I am going to take 90 across SD, hook up thru WY and MT, and drop down into Yellowstone. Only the North entrance is open, and I am staying waaaaaaay clear of 212 and ALT14.
I am giving myself 3 days, which comes out to about 10 hours a day, give or take. Now I am starting to think I should leave on Thursday, just to be sure.
Next year I am not going to start work until summer- this is he** on the nerves......
Chains on the drive wheels!
Expert advice can obtained from the Highwayman -- but you need to put the chains on the drive axle!!!! In your case, that means the front wheels. Chains are a traction-control device and that is only helpful if they are supplied by power.
Not to cast aspersions on Wisconsin blizzards, but usually a storm in Wisconsin will dump 4-6" in a day and and storms in the Rockies can reach that level per hour. Plus, it is cold enough that it rarely thaws, unlike the melt/freeze conditions of the Rockies which can lead to really good layers of black ice.
Uncle Bob has a new article about Winter Weather driving tips that we will be publishing on Monday. Stay tuned.
Spring driving should be OK for 10 hours -- but if you can leave earlier, it will be less of a chore.
Have an adventure!
Don't think I am getting overconfident because of snow experience- I lived in CO for 5 years. I know its a whole different ballgame in the Rockies.....LOL...
That's why I am preparing.
Thanks so much for the tips....I honestly did NOT know chains go on the front in a FWD. I never had to use them. You don't need them on all tires, do you?
I will definitely check out the Winter Driving Tips...
FWD chains go on FRONT if only one set -- CAN additionally go on rear [ to prevent rear from trying to pass front while stopping and turning ] if 2 sets available.
RWD chains go on REAR if only one set -- CAN additionally go on front [ for steering traction ] if 2 sets available.
4WD chains BEST on rear if one set [ UNLESS otherwise specified in owners manual ] ABSOLUTE best on ALL four --
[ UNLESS otherwise specified in owners manual ]
----------------READ YOUR OWNER'S MANUAL ;)----------------
LOTS of AWD -- 4WDs are PRIMARIALY FWD
the San Diego Highwayman @ www.snowtraction.com wishing you "Happy trails"
It may be Spring, but there is still now out there
Although Spring has officially arrived, we know that driving in snow is still a reality for many. We have just published a new guide for driving in snow and icy conditions. <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/travelplanning/Winter-Driving.htm"Click here</a> for more information.